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Firms do $25m of business without handling any dough

Baker Walter De Maria makes his living selling pizzas and bread, but like thousands of WA companies he’s now using a different type of ‘dough’ to do business. La Pagnotta Bakery was one of more than 2500 firms in WA complete cashless transactions totaling almost $25 million in 2013 through Bartercard.

Businesses who sign up receive ‘trade dollars’ by selling goods and services and can spend their earnings with other Bartercard members.

In the case of La Pagnotta Bakery, Mr De Maria offers his catering services and then uses the proceeds to pay for anything from vehicle signage to concert tickets.

The Malaga based bakery has completed $25,000 since Easter and Mr De Maria says being a Bartercard member attracted new customers.

“I’ve got two teenage daughters, so rather than spend $500 on Justin Bieber tickets I got them through Bartercard and the real cost is about 30 per cent to us,” he said. “It frees up money for things that you don’t do unless you’ve got the extra cash flow.”

Jo Lethby, owner of Fairy Home Services in Perth, traded $142,000 through the Australian-based scheme last year, about 10 per cent of the company’s turnover, and recently put down a $50,000 deposit on a house using Bartercard.

“You use it like normal money, it’s just a lot easier to make Bartercard money,” Ms Lethby said.

Bartercard state manager Raj Pathak said a record number of WA firms were bartering and he expects more to join as the mining boom slows.

“Businesses enjoyed the mining boom and the margins they were enjoying were far greater than anywhere else,” Mr Pathak said.

“The questions is now that the mining boom is slowing, they have to look at alternatives so they can enjoy similar sort of margins and get what they want.”

Albert Kramer, director of Mount Pleasant based Kramer & Kramer Real Estate receives home sales commissions in Bartercard trade dollars that he has spent on holidays in Queensland and New Zealand.

Cottesloe Beach Chalets owner Glenn Davies, who completed $182,000 in transactions last year, lets out his rooms to members that would otherwise be vacant in winter.

“It was a way to fill the gaps in winter and then in turn use that revenue to reduce your overheads with regards to purchasing stuff you’d have to buy anyway, like wine, pillows, and cleaning materials,” he said.

Source: Sunday Times - Perth
Author: Peter Law

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